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January 25, 2022

Nabucco project, almost dropped

Shah Deniz Consortium members have the option to join TAP, if it is indeed selected on June 28 as the gas transportation route to Europe.

The Nabucco project Romania is part of will not be done after all, as the consortium operating the Shah Deniz gas fields (Azerbaijan) has selected a different export route to Europe, according to Die Presse, quoted by Mediafax. The publication suggests that the Shah Deniz group has chosen the TAP (Trans-Adriatic Pipeline) transport option to Europe crossing Greece, Albania and Adriatic Sea to a South Italy terminal. ‘The Sah Deniz II consortium has informed OMV – one of the Nabucco Gas Pipeline International Gmbh (NGPI) shareholders – about its decision on the preferred gas transportation route to Europe. The Nabucco West project has not been selected by the consortium’, reads an OMV release issued yesterday. The Austrian group says the NGPI quote was very competitive, also meeting all selection conditions and notes that the effort put into the Nabucco project so far will bring benefits on the occasion of future similar initiatives.
Foreign minister Titus Corlatean recently said for Gandul.info that there are many chances to have a decision of Shah Deniz favourable to the Nabucco Vest project, but Romania must be prepared with alternatives if TAP is preferred. He added that, if the selected project is TAP, which will deliver the Azeri gas to Italy and Greece, then Romania has alternative solutions such as the subsequent construction, delayed, of Nabucco Vest, as well as the exploiting of the Black Sea gas reserves and shale gas.
At that time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs labeled as “premature and speculative” the information and comments that recently appeared regarding such a decision.
However, the decision is officially expected on Friday. However, the Shah Deniz consortium said in a statement that it “is not going to speculate on the choice of European pipeline delivery option for Shah Deniz gas. As we have said before the Shah Deniz consortium intends to announce the selected option before the end of June,” according to greece.greekreporter.com.
The European Union, which is trying to reduce its dependence on Russia for gas and diversify its supply sources, is supporting both TAP and Nabucco West as the two projects compete for 10 bln cubic meters of Azerbaijan’s gas as part of the Southern Gas Corridor.
On June 21, Greece’s Environment, Energy and Climate Change Ministry officially announced it has reached an agreement with TAP over the content of a Host Government Agreement (HGA). The same day, Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR confirmed it has reached a principal agreement with Greek state asset privatisation fund TAIPED for the acquisition of a 66 per cent stake in the country’s natural gas transmission network operator (DESFA). The HGA was expected to be signed in Athens on June 26.
TAP’s shareholders are Swiss AXPO (42.5 per cent), Norway’s Statoil (42.5 per cent) and Germany’s E.ON Ruhrgas (15 per cent). Shah Deniz Consortium members have the option to join TAP, if it is indeed selected on June 28 as the gas transportation route to Europe.
Meanwhile, experts have said that Nabucco and TAP should work together, regardless of which project wins. They note that in the next two years, the interconnectors, gas storage tanks and gas pumping stations should be in place so that the “loser project” can also start construction as the “winner project” nears completion. They note that the two projects should be sold together to displace Russia’s South Stream, which looks set to dominate gas supplies in the Balkans.
The Nabucco pipeline was going to transport natural gas from the Caspian Region from the Turkish-Bulgarian border via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary to the Central European Gas Terminal in Baumgarten (Austria). Nabucco West shareholders are OMV (Austria), FGSZ (Hungary), Transgaz (Romania), Bulgarian Energy Holding (Bulgaria), Botas (Turkey) and RWE (Germany). Nabucco West was supposed to get access to natural gas in the second operating phase of the Shah Deniz deposit and deliver them to the European market.

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